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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Half Nelson

By

Source: Catholic News Service

Small but poignant drama about an inner-city public school history teacher (Ryan Gosling) whose classroom idealism hides his private, self-destructive spiral into drug addiction, until he's caught in the act by one of his students (Shareeka Epps), a tough girl with a troubled home life, triggering an unlikely friendship that changes them both. Despite its bleak subject matter, director Ryan Fleck's gritty film is ultimately about redemption, connection and transformation, and is buttressed by emotionally honest performances that illuminate flawed humanity and a taut script that avoids cliche, easy answers or oversentimentality. Recurring drug content, a sexual encounter with fleeting partial nudity, and much rough and crude language, as well as some profanity. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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Apollonia: The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned. 
<p>While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.</p><p>There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. St. Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.</p> American Catholic Blog We can find Christ among the despised, voiceless, and forgotten of the world. We have to move beyond that which we wish to ignore and forget about: embrace the seemingly un-embraceable, love the unlovable, and dare to know what we most fear and wish to leave unknowable.

Your Imperfect Holy Family

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
St. Valentine's Day
Bring candy and flowers but send an e-card.

Our Lady of Lourdes
Celebrate our Blessed Mother who never tires of interceding on our behalf.

Ash Wednesday
Throughout these 40 days we allow our pride to fade into humility as together we ask for forgiveness.

Mardi Gras
Promise this Lent to do one thing to become more aware of God in yourself and in others.

St. Josephine Bakhita
Today we honor the first saint from the Sudan, who was a model of piety and humility.




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